Digital Picks and Shovels
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Aastha Maheshwari and Anushka Dhoot Read : 569 Date : Thursday, January 04, 2018 - 15:28:18

    Courtesy of aCommerce

    Bangkok-based aCommerce is a regional company that enables e-commerce in Southeast Asia. The firm helps online merchants, both regional and global, build their businesses in Southeast Asia, with a big focus on the unglamorous side of e-retailing, such as customer support, distribution, fulfillment and logistics. “We are close to what a distributor does. We help companies enter local markets, and plug them into retail outlets,” says Paul Srivorakul, 40, co-founder and chief executive of aCommerce. The tagline that aCommerce uses is “making ecommerce easy since 2013.” A more colorful description comes from the LinkedIn profile of aCommerce Group Chief Marketing Officer Sheji Ho: “The exclusive provider of premium digital picks and shovels for the e-commerce gold rush in Southeast Asia. Inquire for the latest models.”

    Paul, a Thai citizen and serial entrepreneur, came up for the idea when he was working at Ardent Capital, an venture investment firm he also founded in 2012. “While at Ardent Capital, where we have invested in 17 different e-commerce companies, we realized the common problem that all these companies faced was logistics and getting products delivered to customers. There were no real B2C logistics and fulfillment companies. Thus aCommerce was build as an internal need of the fund to support all the brands, since we knew that we could use the same service for other brands and retailers,” says Paul.

    In June 2013, aCommerce became its own company, with Paul bringing in his brothers Tom and John to help found and start the firm (Tom remains as Thailand co-chief executive of the firm), while Paul continues to have a role at Ardent. With $3.1 million in funding from Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, the firm was launched. By 2014, the firm had four offices and fulfillment centers and over 250 employees in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. The company had some major clients such as L’Oreal, HP and Groupon. Others were entering the same market at the time, with Japanese BPO giant Transcosmos setting up a local Indonesian office in June 2013, and Singapore’s postal firm, SingPost, offering similar services and selling a 10% stake to Alibaba in 2014, making Alibaba the second-largest shareholder in the firm after Singapore telcom SingTel.

    Today, aCommerce operates in six Southeast Asian countries: Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, with 20 offices and fulfillment centers. Its range of services have grown to include digital marketing, channel management, warehousing, call centers, shipping and cross border services and webstore development. It also provides advisory and consulting services such as market entry strategies and e-commerce market research. For example, for IT giant HP, the firm manages all of its online markets, fulfillment and deliveries in Southeast Asia. The firm has also started to help clients with offline services. “The difference for us is that we started online and now we are also moving to offline,” says Paul.

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